Is Revelation a unity?

So far, in my Study Leave, I’ve been mainly concerned with getting to grips with the overall flow of the book. One of the questions raised by the material relates to the structure and unity/disunity of the material.

rev - unity or compositDr Ian Paul, in his blog, reflects here on whether or not Revelation is a unity or a composite book. David Aune, in his Word Commentary, suggests the latter partly based on the discontinuity of characters appearing in the story. Ian assesses this and finds a remarkable degree of continuity. Link below to his blog post, based on a paper due to be published in a multi-author volume.

Hi Ian,
thanks for this. I’m working on trying to understand the overall structure of Revelation at the moment, and have been impressed by the sheer variety of ‘structures’ in commentaries. Some of them have descriptions for sections that are so broad they are useless at describing the contents. Many seem to work with two main sections in the body of the work, with subdivisions.

The description that I’ve found most attractive, in part because of the use of the idea of ‘closure’ at certain points, is the that of David Barr in his ‘Tales of the End.’ A ‘Three Scroll’ (Scroll being used metaphorically I think) structure: Letter Scroll ( to 3:22) Worship Scroll (to 11:18) and War Scroll (to the end). I suspect that because there are so many ‘sevens’ in the book that the temptation is to look for (& find/manufacture) a seven-fold structure that does not adequately describe the contents of the various sections.

Will post a link to your Blog if I may to let my FB friends know about it.



About Jared Hay

I'm minister of Priestfield Church in Edinburgh (Church of Scotland), husband of Jane, father of two adult children and am interested in sharing ideas and information through this blog.
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